How Virginia is showing the LOVE

Noticed those LOVE signs across the state? Here’s how they started.

LOVE Comes to Blenheim Vineyards

Love is all around Virginia. Literally.

There’s “Reel LOVE” in Culpeper, luggage LOVE in the Norfolk International Airport, and even some race car LOVE at the Richmond International Raceway.

There are currently 33 “LOVEworks” scattered across the Commonwealth, each meant to celebrate the unique character of the site where it’s located.

LOVE Artwork

LOVEwork outside of Luray Caverns

“They really started with portable signs and simple white letters that we…placed at various Virginia welcome centers,” said Richard Lewis of the Virginia Tourism Corporation. Those original, roughly six-foot tall white LOVE signs were commissioned in 2011 and inspired by the “Virginia is for Lovers” ad campaign.

“The idea was to present Virginia as a family destination with the message that love is at the heart of every Virginia vacation,” Lewis said. “It’s not just about doing the things you love, or going to the place you love, but sharing those experience with the people you love.”

The VTC then decided to partner with tourism destinations across the state to install more artistic signs, called LOVEworks. “People have become extremely creative with these,” Lewis said.

Veritas LOVE Art

LOVEwork made from wine corks at Veritas Vineyards in Afton, VA

Among them are the wine barrels used at the Cardinal Point Winery in Afton, musical instruments on State Street in Bristol’s arts and entertainment district, and the swan in the Maymont LOVEwork, which references the mansion’s swan bed.

The VTC even created a Reimbursement Fund to help groups and individuals create their own LOVEwork.1 Approved projects received $1,200 toward the sign’s construction and installation. Of the 33 signs now up, 17 were created with fund assistance.

Lewis said that the VTC ultimately wants 100 LOVEworks across the state. As a result, the Reimbursement Fund will soon reopen to facilitate their construction.2 But he said that “some people are just getting into the spirit of the thing and [doing] it on their own.” He recalled seeing one made out of hay bales while he traveled in the southwest part of the state.

When asked why these LOVE signs have become so popular, Lewis said that they reaffirm a “universal” message. “There’s a lot of love in this world, and that appeals to everybody.”

LOVEworks at Humpback Bridge

LOVEwork at Humpback Bridge in Covington, VA

Related

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Footnotes

  1. Requirements were that LOVEworks must be in a highly visible area and photographable, at least 6 feet high and 16 feet long, and incorporate a local or regional theme. 
  2. Those interested should contact Lindsey Norment, Advertising & Promotions Manager at the VTC, at lnorment@virginia.org

photos courtesy of the Virginia Tourism Corporation

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Nathan Cushing

Nathan Cushing is a writer, journalist, and RVANews Editor.

2 comments on How Virginia is showing the LOVE

  1. AG on said:

    Unless you’re gay, then “Virginia is not for Lovers!” This is a great campaign, but our government and leaders (McDonnell and the Cooch) don’t believe love is universal.

  2. Eileen Slade on said:

    This campaign could be taken seriously if the Legislature in Virginia cared more about its own citizens then it does about outsides special interest groups. For example, I could support this tourism effort if the House of Delegates supported Medicaid expansion or Marketplace Virginia so that ALL Virginians had access to health care, including the working poor. How about speeding up the process for non-violent offenders to have their civil rights restored? One of only a handful of states that still impedes civil rights. How about using non-incarceration alternatives for all non-violent offenders? How about making medical marijuana legally available? How about legalizing the possession of marijuana and stop throwing people into jail when their drivers’ licenses are suspended but they still have to drive to work and school? How about getting rid of the death penalty in a state that says it’s for lovers? How about focusing on gang-related violent crime and solve this scourge present in all of our cities? How about fully funding education? How about supporting equality for all? I could go on and on about the hypocrisy of this state but I’m too tired and disgusted to continue.

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